East St. Louis has hundred of deliberately set and suspicious fires a year, making it the arson capital of Illinois. A two month investigation of arson in this poor, nearly all-black city was conducted. Most East St. Louis fires are not investigated, while nearly all fires in nearby white areas are investigated. Arsonist in the city stand little chance of being caught and convicted. Arson investigators show up days or weeks after a fire, fail to gather evidence or interview known witnesses, and usually close their cases in a day.